Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has confirmed Jose Mourinho turned down the opportunity to become the club’s new manager as he has “chosen another club”.
The Ligue 1 side parted company with former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Sylvinho after Sunday’s derby defeat to St-Etienne.
Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Aulus revealed the search is well underway for Sylvinho’s replacement.
But the president claimed Mourinho turned down talks as he has already agreed to manage another club.
“We had some fairly flattering exchanges over SMS,” Aulus said. “It was nice for everyone. He did not accept our proposal to meet because he has already chosen another club.”
Aulus went on to admit he is a fan of Nice head coach and ex-Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, while Remi Garde – who managed Lyon for three years before an disastrous stint at Aston Villa – is also under consideration.
“He (Vieira) is certainly one of the managers that I like the most,” Aulus added. “Gérard Houllier knows him well after they rubbed shoulders in New York. Sadly, he is under contract, he is not free.”
On Garde, Aulus said: “He has not yet been contacted but it is a possible route. For the moment, talks haven’t happened but maybe they will.”
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Sylvinho was hired by his countryman Juninho Pernambucano, the former Lyon midfielder who became the club’s sporting director in the summer.
And while Aulas admits it was a mistake to bring in Sylvinho, he still has faith in Juninho to make an impact on the football side of things at Lyon.
“I did not know of him (Sylvinho) before Juninho told me about him,” Aulas said. “I had no interest in taking a sporting director and head coach for the sole purpose of pleasing the fans.
“The defensive style that he offered created a destabilising effect in terms of the normal attacking style of Lyon. We made a mistake but in general we don’t make a mistake twice.”
He added: “It was indeed Juninho who took the decision to change manager, he even had this view a little earlier on. He is going to continue to take responsibility on the football side in the same way.
“He is a boy who breathes football. I am enriching myself by spending time by his side. In the first matches, he detected a certain number of problems. It is he who explained his decision to Sylvinho.”